This is a phytochemical, which is red to orange in color which is produced by some plants, especially the fruits. The richest sources of beta carotene are the carrots, pepper and other colored vegetables (Aune et al., 2018). The term beta carotene originated from the Greeks and Latins, and it is converted into vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin. Therefore beta carotene plays essential roles in vision since the vitamin A formed is important in provision of vision among many other roles (Dias & Costa, P. 2017).
Additionally, this phytochemical is considered as a carotenoid and plays antioxidant roles to protect the body cells from cancer. The beta carotene also enhances the cellular communication. Lack of proper cell communication could lead to cell overgrowth and possible development of cancer. The beta carotenes have also important roles in the development of reproductive health, especially in women due to high levels of beta carotene in the corpus luteum.
Other foods that are rich in beta carotene include carrots, peas, onions, squash, pepper, grapes, chives, Chinese cabbage, kales, ketchup, and spinach. However, excessive intake of beta carotene increases the amounts of vitamin A, which is toxic due to development of hypervitaminosis. In terms of drug interactions, the beta carotene interacts with the medications such as the cholesterol lowering drugs leading to decline in carotenoid levels.
According to a meta-analysis conducted by Yu et al., (2015), it was reported that increased intakes of beta carotene and vitamin A offers protective roles on people against lung cancer. This finding came at a time whereby there was no clear information on whether dietary beta carotene and vitamin A could have any protection roles against lung cancer.
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Aune, D., Keum, N., Giovannucci, E., Fadnes, L. T., Boffetta, P., Greenwood, D. C., … & Norat, T. (2018). Dietary intake and blood concentrations of antioxidants and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Dias, A., & Costa, P. (2017). Detection and separation of lycopene and beta-carotene in tomato products: a new and sustainable chromatographic approach.
Yu, N., Su, X., Wang, Z., Dai, B., & Kang, J. (2015). Association of dietary vitamin A and β-carotene intake with the risk of lung cancer: A Meta-analysis of 19 publications. Nutrients, 7(11), 9309-9324.
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